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[liberationtech] Medill online Digital Safety Guide

frank at frank at
Wed May 22 13:41:07 PDT 2013

Hi everyone,

Over a year ago Jake asked me to post any curriculum my group may come
up with here on the list for review by anyone who may be so inclined. If
you are so inclined, please take a look at the guide just posted here:

I would welcome any comments at all. (I'd prefer constructive comments,
but, most importantly, I want to know if you think something is wrong,
misleading or off-point and/or should be redirected.)

We will make changes as needed, with full attribution as appropriate to
groups or individuals as anyone here may wish. As a non-technologist, I
very much appreciate this community and the many truly amazing people in
it. And that ain't smoke, it's true.

This guide is posted on the Northwestern University Medill School of
Journalism National Security Zone online, which also includes many other
guides for reporters like, also of interest to some here, Covering
Military Trials. In writing this digital guide, I have not tried to
reinvent the wheel, and focus more on concepts and what journalists need
to think about learn, rather than get into how to use tools or even
thinking about trying to rate them. Instead the guide relies heavily on
other resources already providing such information like
Security-in-a-Box, along with Danny's Information Security chapter in
CPJ's Journalist Security Guide. 

I have also relied on information, all with full attribution, from, The Engine Room and others.

Much of what is written also reflects what I have managed to glean over
the years as a non-technologist from this group and list. If you wish to
take issue with any one point, please do. Or the whole parts of it, or
the entire guide for that matter, if you wish. Part of the idea behind
putting this up at all is to advance a broader dialogue. And it is not
mean to be exhaustive, but merely an introduction. The main goal is to
alert journalists to how much they don't know, and need to learn, which,
if recent news is any indication, more journalists at least in this
nation are realizing every day.

So please go ahead and dive in if you wish, and direct your comments
back to the list or to my email also copied, as you wish. (I don't
always check this list, so if you want to make sure I see your note in a
timely matter, please copy me at frank at

And here is a nice juicy tidbit from the guide to get you started.

Pretty Good Privacy or PGP along with the newer, German
government-funded version of the same software model, GPG, is encryption
software for emails and files. Both PGP and GPG use cryptographic
algorithms that are stronger than what Internet Freedom activists
believe even the U.S. National Security Agency (under most
circumstances) is capable of decoding. Although even the best digital
software is still subject to spyware programs on infected computers that
allow eavesdroppers to learn the passwords to access even encrypted
emails and files.

Disagree on this or any point, please say so.

Thank you, everyone!

Best, Frank

Frank SmythExecutive DirectorGlobal Journalist
Securityfrank at journalistsecurity.netTel. + 1 202 244 0717Cell + 1 202
352 1736Twitter: @JournoSecurityWebsite:

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